Reno 1868 FC headed to Las Vegas on Saturday following a win in Portland on Wednesday. This was the first time that Reno 1868 FC has faced the Las Vegas lights since getting a 2-0 win on October 12, 2019, to secure back to back Silver State Cup championships. Reno was 3-0-2 all-time vs Las Vegas going into this match. Reno had back to back clean sheets in 2019 not allowing a single goal from Las Vegas.
Going into the match Reno was coming off of a 4-1 win in Portland. It was a pretty decisive win as well. Reno was also fighting to maintain first place in group A. Las Vegas was going into the game after a 2-1 loss in San Diego. Las Vegas was looking for their first win in 2020. Las Vegas was also looking to climb out of last place in group B.
The big news heading into this match was that Raul Mendiola signed with Las Vegas. He previously played with the lights in 2018 as their top scorer. In 2019, he signed with Reno. He was one of Reno’s top offensive threats. While with Reno he played in 29 games, scored 4 goals 8 assists, and 37 key passes. Prior to the 2020 season, he signed with San Diego Loyal SC. This last week he went back to Las Vegas.
I was thinking the game would be scrappy. Silver State Cup has always brought out a lot of emotion from both sides. Looking at both team’s recent history, Las Vegas had 2 yellow cards in their last game. That game had a combined 4 yellow cards. Reno had 2 yellow cards in their previous game. That game had a combined 6 yellow cards and a red card for a second yellow. I was wondering if Christiano Francois could continue to play at the same level he did in Portland. He showed he can be a key offensive player for Reno. The question was could he keep it up? Another thing was who’s in the net? Reno used 3 different goalies in 3 games leading up to this one. Ben Buery and Eric De La Cerda are the keepers with Reno. Both keepers had excellent performances in Sacramento and Portland. I have confidence in both of them. It was just a question of who the team was going to choose?
Reno needed to keep the same energy they displayed in Portland. Reno played sluggishly in Sacramento. They pick it up in Portland. That had good energy and pace. They needed to continue that in Las Vegas. Reno showed a lot of speed in Portland. As a strong counter-attacking team, Speed is one of the best things you can have. Reno needed to continue to use that to their advantage. Reno has been deadly on the counter-attack against Las Vegas in the past. Reno needed to use that in Las Vegas.
If Las Vegas had any chance of winning it would only come if they scored first. They needed to make Reno chase the game. Reno hasn’t had to chase any game for long periods since March. Making Reno chase the game worked for Sacramento. The other thing for Las Vegas was that they need to watch out for the counter-attack. Las Vegas has always struggled against strong counter-attacks.
What Happened In The First Half
17’ minute Christiano Francois of Reno 1868 FC won a free kick on the left wing after a foul. The foul was by Mobi Fehr. It was a couple of yards above the box and almost to the sideline. Christiano lined up to kick the ball with (I think) Sergio Rivas. Sam Gleadle was standing in position outside of the top of the box.
18’ minute Reno 1868 FC scores. The cross came into the box from Christiano Francois. The headed towards a bunch of players in the middle of the box. Brent Richards mad an insane jump to get over everyone and to the ball first. He was able to get the ball off of his left foot and into the center of the goal. It was a beautiful set piece. The fact that he got the ball with his foot and not his head shows what an incredible effort it was from Brent.
In the 38’ minute Las Vegas had a chance. Reno wasn’t able to take the ball away in the midfield. While being chased down Jose Carrera-Garcia took a shot from what looks like about 10 yards outside of the box. It was a low centered shot. It was a straight forward save for Eric De La Cerda. Jose Carrera-Garcia didn’t have any options. No one for Las Vegas was open. He was under pressure on his left side with more coming from behind.
In the 45+3’ Benjamin Kikanovic took the ball into the 6-yard box from the right of the keeper. He was being perused by a Las Vegas defender. with not a lot of room, he tried to put the ball in the net between the keeper and the post. Edward Delgado made the save.
What Happened In The Second Half
In the 64’ minute Las Vegas had a chance. Raul Mendiola took the ball down the side of the box. He then centered it to Rashawn Dally. He took a close-range shot from within 3 yards of the keeper. Eric De La Cerda made the save and the ball bounced out of the box. Reno then moved the ball up the field. Raul loves to make plays like this. He loves to take the ball down inside the box. That’s like his wheelhouse.
In the 67’ minute, Reno took another attempt at goal. This one came off of a set piece that looks like its 30 yards outside of the box. Three Reno players lined up with the ball. Kevin Partida took the shot. It went to the left of the keeper. It looked like he was trying to go bottom right corner. The keeper looked like he struggled to make the save.
In the 71’ minute Las Vegas had a chance. The ball was taken down the wing and was crossed just before the player got to the side of the box. The cross would connect with Jose Carrera-Garcia on the opposite side of the box. His attempt hit the side of the net.
In the 78’ minute Las Vegas had another chance. It was pretty much the same play as their chance in the 71’ minute. The ball was crossed from about the same area. The ball was headed towards the goal. Jose Carrera-Garcia took a right-footed shot towards the opposite bottom corner of the net. Eric De La Cerda made a stretch save and Reno cleared the ball.
In the 81’ minute a yellow card was issued to Raul Mendiola of Las Vegas.
The game ended with a 1-0 Reno 1868 FC victory.
There were definitely some more cards that could have been issued. More fouls could have been called. The ref let the teams play. He didn’t really interrupt the flow of the game. It’s nice to see refereeing like this. It defiantly a change of pace. I give the refs a 7 out of 10.
After Match Thoughts
It’s good to see Reno building on what they did in Portland. It’s always nice to beat Las Vegas. It’s now 680 days since Las Vegas has scored a goal on Reno. Reno got their first clean sheet of the season. I like that Reno didn’t change up too much from the Portland match. It worked a few days ago why not do it again. It’s also an easy way to try and carry over momentum. Not changing things means there’s not too much for the players to worry about. It’s familiar to the players so it should be easy for them to just get right back into how they played in the last game.
Reno did keep up the energy from Portland. Later in the game, they did show some signs of fatigue. Playing 2 games in a few days isn’t easy. Reno didn’t let Raul be too much of a threat. While he did have a couple of solid plays Reno shut him down. Reno was able to use their speed. They used it a lot more on defense this time. As far as the counter-attack goes, Reno didn’t use it a lot. The times they did us it Las Vegas was lucky not to give up a goal.
Moving forward Reno needs to build on what they have created in these last few games. Their playing really solid right now. If they can continue to play like this into September they should be able to win group a and make a strong push in the playoffs.
Current Group A Standings
August 2, 2020
Reno 1868 FC (9 pts)
Sacramento Republic FC (6 pts)
Tacoma Defiance (4 pts)
Portland Timbers 2 (0 pts)
Reno 1868 FC will have their first home match of 2020. Reno 1868 FC will take on Tacoma Defiance on August 8, 2020, to start a 3 game homestand. 5 of the next 6 Reno 1868 FC games are home games. Reno is 2-0-1 vs Tacoma all time. Reno has already beaten Tacoma in 2020. Reno was scheduled to play Tacoma two weeks ago but that game was postponed. This is not that rescheduled match.